Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens (11 of 11)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

This is a lens that Sony FE lens mount users have been waiting for for years–and we’re finally getting it in March. The Sony 85mm f1.4 lens is the company’s latest addition to their FE lineup and lenses. It’s part of a new high end brand that they’re calling the G Master series. Like much of the company’s other lenses there is dust and splash protection built in. What’s really cool is the fully working aperture ring.

In the presentation on the lens, Sony said that their biggest priority was not only excellent resolution performance but also great bokeh. To that end, they gave this lens 11 aperture blades.

We got a bit of playtime with a final production unit today on the Sony A7r Mk II; and the quality is downright amazing.

Tech Specs

  • The lens features a new XA (extreme aspherical) element as well as three ED glass elements that work together to ensure that the in-focus areas are captured in extremely high resolution while the surrounding out-of-focus areas dissolve smoothly into a beautiful soft backdrop. It has a circular aperture with 11 blades – the most ever used in an α lens – that ensures bokeh is smooth and visually appealing. Externally, the new model has Sony’s original Nano AR Coating, which is of particular importance in a portrait lens as it reduces flare and ghosting, even with backlit subjects or similarly challenging lighting conditions.
  • For accurate autofocusing, the FE 85mm F1.4 GM lens includes a ring drive SSM motor system that provides ample power and speed to drive the lens’ large, heavy focus group. It’s also equipped with two position sensors to support flawless focus control of the large, heavy lens elements.
  • This new professional portrait lens is dust and moisture resistant and also has an aperture ring with on/off switchable click stops that can be adjusted based on whether a user is shooting still images or movies. It also has an AF / MF switch and a focus hold button2.

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens (9 of 11)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

The Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master series is fairly simple as far as lens design goes. It sports an all metal exterior and also feels like the 35mm f1.4 in many ways.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens (8 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

One of those ways has to do with the massive front element and filter thread. This, in all reality, is a big lens. When you hold it, you know that you’re dealing with a big piece of glass. Here, you also see the new G logo. This logo has brushed metal and distinguishes it from the rest of the series.

In the future, this means that everyone will be going for Sony G Master series glass in the same way that Canon users aspire to get their hands on Canon L glass.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens (4 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

What most characterizes the lens is the working aperture ring and the focusing ring–which are both rubberized and work well.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens (2 of 11)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Sony says that this lens is dust and splash resistant. In my two hours with the lens, I didn’t get to take it to the beach and rub it around in the Coney Island sand. To be honest, I tend to think I’ve got more self-respect.

From what I can tell though, this is a big, beefy lens with some weight to it. If you dropped it on your foot, you’d surely be letting out a bit of a yelp.

Autofocus

With the Sony A7r Mk II, this lens focuses quite quickly. Part of this has to do with the new SSM drive motors on the inside. However, all of my tests were done in studio lighting and so I have yet to see how it performs in low light with various A7 models.

Image Quality

I’ll let you be the judge for yourself. All EXIF data is intact. Simply click the images and it’ll come up in the URL or the file name.

From what I can tell so far though, I’ve never seen anything so film-like from Sony. Everything from Sony usually feels very digital, so despite the high price tag, I may actually be saving up some money to buy this lens. Almost nothing feels like the medium format film gear that I own, but this is coming close.

Part of the reason could be the 11 aperture blades.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (1 of 6)ISO 4001-2000 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (2 of 6)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (6 of 6)ISO 4001-640 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (5 of 6)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (4 of 6)ISO 4001-640 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens sample photos (3 of 6)ISO 4001-400 sec at f - 1.4

Update 3/7/2016

I got to spend some extra time with the lens on a press trip down to Miami. Here are some extra image samples.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (10 of 11)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (4 of 11)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (5 of 11)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (9 of 11)ISO 4001-400 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (1 of 11)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (2 of 11)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (3 of 11)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (6 of 11)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (7 of 11)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (8 of 11)ISO 4001-400 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master Lens extra image samples (11 of 11)ISO 1001-640 sec at f - 1.4

First Impressions

So far, I’m really liking the lens. Sony tends to use the word game changer often with their releases and with these new lenses (especially the 85mm) I actually have to give it to them. 11 aperture blades is something many companies haven’t done in years. Zeiss used to do 17 aperture blades, and it’s nice to see that we’re returning to this.

I’m going to hold my final feedback for the full review, but so far this looks overall quite positive. For even more Sony lens coverage, you should check out the site’s Lens Guide.

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  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2556378078

    That last chick is HAWT

    • ChrisGampat
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      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2556417767

      I mean, I guess she is.

  • chris
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2531741409

    great quality, great images, but the sheer size of the thing negates the compact size of the A7 body. It seems like every new lens for this system is larger than the last.

    Will we ever see more autofocus lenses the size of the Zeiss 35mm F2.8 that actually reflect most A7 user’s desire for small, easily portable gear? it seems if size was not a concern, most would just be using full size DSLR rigs.

  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2504775711

    Is there any way to post images will less JPEG compression or maybe some RAWs? The very first image @ 100% looks like it was sharpened first and than compressed like 50% or maybe even worse JPEG quality…

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2504826278

      No. This site has never promoted pixel peeping.

      • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2506027745

        That’s not about pixel peeping, but the samples quality in general (it’s quite terrible)…

        • ChrisGampat
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2506047559

          That is totally pixel peeping! You just said viewing at 100%

          This site has article after article about viewing an image as a whole. When viewed as a whole there is no pixelation. On three retina screen monitors I see zero issues as a whole.

  • Joe Gunawan DP-AC
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2497475399

    Quick question Chris. Is the focusing still focus-by-wire (variable focusing where if you turn the focusing ring 1/4 turn slowly, it lands differently from when you turn the ring 1/4 turn quickly). Are there any actual hard stops like a cinema lens, or does the focusing ring keep turning past infinity and minimum focus?

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2497484058

      No idea. Didn’t think to test that. My feeling is that it is focus by wire but at the moment note that I’m not 100% sure.

  • Thinkinginpictures
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496365341

    What to do…what to do. Those 11 blades are calling my name. It really depends on the wide open center sharpness. If..big if here…if it matches the Batis then hot giggitty…I think we are in business. I eagerly await lensrentals tear down on this one.

  • Spencer Bentley
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496040247

    Dammit, there goes my tax return. Before I jump out the widow, PLEASE do a side by side with the Batis!

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496096143

      You don’t need this lens dude. Most of your work goes on Instagram and the Batis is more than good enough. http://www.thephoblographer.com/2015/08/12/review-zeiss-85mm-f1-8-batis-sony-fe/#.VrOS8DYrIWo

      From what I see so far, the Sony has better bokeh but the whole pixel peeping thing is useless on Instagram.

      • Spencer Bentley
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496325057

        Let’s not conflate needs with desires, lol. Of course I don’t NEED it, but the gearwhore in me desperately desires it. But I agree with your point on pixel peeping. I’m not really concerned with that so much as the draw of the lens. When you mentioned the filmic rendering, that’s what piqued my interest. My loxia has that sort of natural rendering, and that’s what I’ve come to prefer visually. The 11 elements is really appealing because I haven’t used anything that could deliver that uniform structure of bokeh. I’m planning on making a nice 85 my next lens purchase so I’m trying to compile as much info as possible.

  • drasko
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495425556

    was it shot handheld or tripod?

  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495415699

    And there goes the mirrorless’ size-advantage …

  • Zuikocron
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495295632

    I think there are already some film like lenses from Sony.
    Their main characteristics is soft, with CAs and even softer corners. Oh – and color shifting wide angles with the A7R

  • Hector
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495222307

    It’s quite a big lens, Sony doesn’t seem to be making the most of the benefits of mirrorless size and weight cuts.

  • Joven
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495053484

    Am I the only one that when you hear a lens being “film-like,” you hear soft with CA?

    • Jie Qi Ng
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495312858

      pixel peep the second female model/s photo and you will notice tiniest amount of CA on the gold/black rings of her skirt. Otherwise, the lack of CA in the photo is astonishing.

      • ChrisGampat
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495849466

        This is ALL removed with post-production. Again, you guys are thinking way too minimally.

        • Jie Qi Ng
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495897153

          Too minimally? More like minimal information given. Nothing in your post indicates the degree of post production you put the files through. So what are we supposed to do? Not think, cheer and move on?

          • ChrisGampat
            Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
            Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495958557

            It doesn’t need to if you read reviews often and considering your comment, you probably do! CA and purple fringing is a problem that is so incredibly negligible in modern photography that it’s never worth talking about! Lightroom fixes it so well with no issues and most lenses don’t really have it that’s worth mentioning because most people sit there and look at the image as a whole to begin with.

            No bride is ever going to sit there and pixel peep your photo to specifically look at her pores.

            No parent is going to pixel peep their kid’s senior portrait photo to see if you’ve moved peach fuzz or otherwise ask for their money back.

            No restaurant is going to pixel peep your image of their food to say that one of the toasted scallions was a bit too green.

            It just doesn’t happen. Folks look at images as a whole and judge them based on moment and content. The idea behind the site’s reviews is how the gear can help you do that.

            Your comment literally says the “tiniest amount of CA.” Think to yourself, why does that matter? If you were shooting a portrait, your subject won’t sit there and pixel peep it.

            As I’ve continuously said, it’s 2016 and all cameras and lenses are way too good for folks to be quibbling about this.

            • Jie Qi Ng
              Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
              Disqus/1.1(2.84):2497362611

              woah woah chris, there is no need to be so worked out by the simple term “Pixel peeping”. I was answering the dude’s claim about softness, CA and blah, and to do so i need to pixel peep to give him some answers. Then you go in so defensively about me taking too close of a look on photos, what for?

              I was not aware about the degree of post-processing you put your photos through, simple as that. Is there really a need for your to give me a full lecture on pixel peeping? Am i being blasphemous here to some sort of religious adherence?

              Chill bro, i do am not your heathen pixel-peeper, i have work to deliver to client and i dont give a damn about the microscopic details of my deliverable.

    • Joven
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496151983

      This went in a direction I wasn’t expecting. I just meant that when people say a lens is film-like, think about the lenses around during fill which had softer, less contrasty rendering. Then again, maybe it was about the construction of the lens. I just didn’t know how a lens could be “film-like.”

      Disclaimer: I full embraced photography on digital, so I never had a film DSLR. I’m just going by articles that compare old lenses to new lenses.

      • ChrisGampat
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496168099

        Back in the film days lenses has more than 9 aperture blades. This is the first time this is happening again in years. Zeiss used to do 17. I own one.

        • Joven
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2496239166

          Thanks :).

  • Mad Maxxum
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2494980120

    Its nice to see Sony finally building their own professional line of prime lenses, and reducing their dependence on Zeiss.

  • LittleCam
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2494900215

    creamy bokeh – but it seems Batis is sharper

    • Gabriel
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495052281

      Lol wow you are already trying to evaluate them with all the variables of comparing those shots to ones for Batis. Come on now

      • LittleCam
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495073055

        I magnified all these pictures to 100% and immediately missed the detailed skin structure I have seen on Batis. Maybe it catches up when it is stopped down to f1.8.

        • Gabriel
          Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
          Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495721882

          You can magnify all you want from this first samples of the lens but that STILL does not give you any valid argument to say the Batis is sharper until they are shot side by side under the same conditions. You should know better about how many variables are coming into play here 😉

      • ChrisGampat
        Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
        Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495846940

        Guys, it’s 2016 and you’re pixel peeping. Come on…this site was NEVER designed for pixel peepers. Anything and everything will give you great results and when you use software none of it matters. That’s what I say in EVERY single review.

  • Hiep Phan
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2494733496

    Thank you Chris for sharing these. Are they all at f/1.4?

    • ChrisGampat
      Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
      Disqus/1.1(2.84):2495847649

      As stated, EXIF data is in the file name and the URL.

  • Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2494728285

    I need this in my life

  • outkasted
    Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Disqus/1.1(2.84):2494620151

    Pretty darn good

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